Madison, Wis. (AP) — Republicans unanimously elected Milwaukee to the 2024 national convention in swing state Wisconsin on Friday, a victory for the city on the shores of Lake Michigan after hosting the 2020 Democratic convention was exacerbated by COVID-19. Epidemic.

The decision, in favor of Milwaukee over Nashville, was announced at the Republican National Committee’s summer meeting in Chicago, with Nashville essentially kicking itself out of the race on Tuesday when the city council decided to host the event. The draft agreement was rejected. It came as Democratic opposition downplayed the city’s prospects and the RNC’s site selection committee chose Milwaukee last month.

Milwaukee’s Democratic mayor, Cavalier Johnson, joined then-President Donald Trump’s former chief of staff Reince Priebus to praise the decision following the announcement in Chicago. Johnson thanked Priebus for helping to get the conference off the ground, saying it was an example of bipartisanship that is so much needed in the country.

Johnson described Milwaukee, known for its Brewers baseball team, Bucks basketball team, brats and beers, as a “city full of unexpected gems.” He also explained why he and so many Democrats were eager to land a convention organized by their political rivals.

“I want you to take all your money to Milwaukee, spend that week, and leave it in Milwaukee,” Johnson said.

While Johnson urged bipartisan support while emphasizing the economic boost, some liberals lamented the city’s hosting of Republicans, which is home to the largest contingent of Democrats in the state.

Black Leaders, a Milwaukee-based liberal group that organizes for communities, said that having the convention in the city “would make us feel unsafe and unwanted in our communities.”

“We are calling on our elected officials to start taking into account what is best for all residents and communities of Milwaukee, not just from a financial standpoint,” BLOC said in a statement. Other groups protesting included the Vosse de la Frontera Action and the SEIU Wisconsin State Council.

Priebus, who served as chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party before leading the RNC, then served under Trump, said choosing Milwaukee was politically important and would allow Republicans to spend more time in the state. .

“It’s a battlefield, it matters,” Priebus said. “I know sometimes we argue over it, but it matters.”

Wisconsin can determine who will win in 2024, while Tennessee has not backed Democrats for the presidency since 1996. But choosing Milwaukee is in line with recent Republican choices for the convention. For two decades, Republicans have held their nominating convention in swing states — North Carolina, Ohio and Florida.

Trump won Wisconsin in 2016, but lost to President Joe Biden in 2020 by an almost equal margin.

Wisconsin Republican Party President Paul Farrow, who was in Chicago for the RNC meeting, said that having the convention in Milwaukee “will energize our base even more so that we feel that we are a very important base across the country.” Huh.” In Wisconsin, the winner has been elected president in the last four elections.

Milwaukee, a Democratic stronghold, was chosen to host the 2020 Democratic National Committee convention, but it went almost entirely online because of the coronavirus pandemic. Biden accepted the nomination not in Milwaukee, but in Delaware. The city used its preparations for that convention to argue with Republicans that a “turnkey” operation was ready for actual hosting in 2024.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper and others expressed concerns about safety, the economic trade-off of shutting down most of the bustling city by excluding convention activity, as well as the implications of tying the city’s resources to the event.

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